I ? What is PCB?
The PCB or better known as the Printed Circuit Board is a kind of thin board that is made from fiberglass, laminated material, and a composite epoxy. Its conductive pathways are being etched and printed into the board which connects to the different component elements of the PCB. These components include transistors, resistors, and integrated circuits.
The printed circuit boards are used as a part of the desktop and laptop computers. This thing serves as a foundation for the different internal parts of the computer which include the video card, network interface cards, controller cards, and expansion cards. All these components are directly connected to the motherboard which is also known as the printed circuit board.
While it is a truth to be told that the PCB is most often associated with the computers, on the other hand, these are also used to many other electronic devices apart from computers. Printed circuit boards are also known for being an essential part of the TVs, radios, cellphones, digital cameras, and tablets. Most of the time, these gadgets are using more than one PCB at the same time.
Oftentimes, the PCBs found and installed in the mobile devices are also of almost similar look to that which used in the large electronic devices.
II ? What is Flexible PCB and its Characteristics?
There are two different kinds of PCB available for use; the rigid and the flexible PCB. One of the types of PCB is the flexible printed circuit board. However, the flexible PCB is quite contradictory to its name because its board isn?t that flexible.
This board has a very unique design. It has a three-dimensional space which is very important for bending and flexible applications. When it comes to the carrying capacity, it is believed that the flexible PCB is poor in this characteristic. Meanwhile, since flexible PCB can bend, one of the most common concerns about this type of PCB is whether the bending won?t crack nor break the solder joints in the bend location.
Having said this kind of concern, its design will feature that so-called radiused corners and filleted pads. Another thing that is used in the flexible PCB is the substrate which is known for being not too dimensionally-stable, unlike the rigid PCB. Hence, there is a need for allowances to the dimensional changes for the flexible type of PCBs.
Meanwhile, the flexible PCBs also require different dielectric materials which include the laminated coverlay. This material is believed to create its most unique properties and challenges. For the flexible PCB to be functional, its prime materials need to bend and flex without having the fear of breaking. There are lots of applications requiring the use of a flexible PCB. Hence, manufacturers of this type tried their best to make sure that it will not crack, nor break, or even delaminate.
Apart from this aspect, there are also some other factors need to be considered which is primarily the design. Its design features must be carefully planned with the dynamic flex application and this includes the copper grain direction, trace geometries, and coverfilm thickness.
Accordingly, it is about 10 ? 15% which constitute the number of flexible PCBs that have been producing globally. This simply means that there are more numbers of applications that made use of the hardboards rather than flex. Nonetheless, it has the best of its advantage since the flexible PCBs has the capacity to reduce its size, weight, and even the amount of hardware used to many electronic devices, to which the hardboard is not capable of.
III ? What is the Rigid PCB and its Characteristics?
The next type of PCB is the rigid PCB that is considered as a solid and inflexible printed circuit board. Contrary to that of the flexible PCB, this rigid type is something that you cannot bend nor break nor forced out of its original shape. The rigid PCB can be single-sided or multilayer. One of its characteristics is the fact that once the rigid PCB is manufactured, there is no way for it to be modified or be folded to a different shape.
The rigid PCB is made out of solid substrate materials containing copper tracks and other layouts where active and passive electronic components are highly-evident. The use of the rigid PCBs entails lots of benefits. The rigid types are a lot cheaper than the flexible PCB. Further, it is also considered more durable and of high quality and density, unlike the flex type. Apart from that, in terms of numbers, rigid PCBs ultimately outnumbered the flexible PCB since most of the electronic devices are using the hardboards. Hence, it is a sure way that the demand and supply for the rigid type is way higher compared to the flexible one.
Several electronic devices use the rigid or hardboard type of PCB. While it is true that it offers an increased circuit density, this has become one of the reasons why rigid PCB is mostly used in the computers, satellites, industrial equipment, automotive, and even with the different medical equipment.
IV ? Conclusion
As to the question, which is way better between the rigid and flexible PCB - it is safe to say that both of these printed circuit boards are serving its distinct use and purpose. Without the PCBs in the world, electronic devices will never exist and will never be of use.
Its main job is to connect the different electrical and mechanical components of these devices altogether for it to work and be useful. Hence, it is a truth to be told that both the rigid and flexible types of PCB have their place in the world of technology as both of them are serving useful functions.
Even for a fact that rigid PCBs are widely used globally, it is still a truth to be considered that the use of flexible types is still needed by some of the applications used today. It is also important to note that not all manufacturers are capable of creating flexible PCBs. Hence, before building one, make sure to ask ideas to multiple board houses to learn further about the costs and build options.